Maxime Bernier, Minister of State for Small Business & Tourism, right, joins Steve Gupta, President & CEO of Easton's Group of Hotels, left, and Tony Pollard, President of the Hotel Association of Canada, during the 2011 TIAC Tourism Congress. TIAC photo
Maxime Bernier, federal Minister of State for Small Business & Tourism, used his speech to the awards luncheon at the 20th annual Hotel Association of Canada Conference to note that for the first time ever, tourism industry representatives met recently with officials from the 15 federal government departments that have a role in tourism.
Bernier said this meeting, which was a commitment under the government's recently launched new Federal Tourism Strategy, is the beginning of more frequent collaboration between the tourism industry and government. He said this exchange of information will pave the way for the industry to play a more strategic role with government, leading to more effective initiatives in the future.
The minister also said efforts are being made to shorten the processing time for visas for foreign travellers, and he repeated the government's pledge to increase the number of Canadian visa application centres around the world to 150 from the current 60 within the next three years.
He praised the role of tourism in the country's economy. "Tourism drives growth and creates jobs in every region of Canada. Talented tourism entrepreneurs ... ensure that Canada is an all-season international destination worth exploring and is renowned for its world-class hospitality and warm welcome."
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